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Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception Kindle Edition

24 customer reviews

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Length: 261 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Burton provides an excellent explanation of how we use psychological defence mechanisms to protect ourselves from painful truths ... [The book] would make a great present for friends interested in psychology, and a welcome change to the standard examination revision texts in psychiatry. --The Psychiatrist

Product Details

  • File Size: 919 KB
  • Print Length: 261 pages
  • Publisher: Acheron Press (February 15, 2012)
  • Publication Date: February 15, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0079QQJIK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,387 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Dr Neel Burton is a psychiatrist, philosopher, writer, and wine-lover who lives and teaches in Oxford, England.

He is the recipient of the Society of Authors' Richard Asher Prize, the British Medical Association's Young Authors' Award, the Medical Journalists' Association Open Book Award, and a Best in the World Gourmand Award.

www.neelburton.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat on April 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This is an absolutely fascinating, worrying and thought provoking read. We all like to think we know ourselves better than anyone else does but do any of us realise how much we are deceiving ourselves about some things in our lives? I found myself alternately laughing and frowning as I read. I was laughing as I recognised other people's self deceptions and frowning as I was forced to recognise that some at least of these issues are mine.

The author suggests that it is never going to be possible for any of us to eliminate self deception completely from our lives and that some forms of self deception can actually prove very productive for us. Many forms of self deception are ways in which we can deal with difficult situations.

A good example is having a bad day at work and rather than taking it out on family and friends you might go and play a fast and furious game of tennis. Now I know why when I am angry about a situation where it is going to be counter-productive to express that anger I take refuge in doing a lot of household chores very fast and with a great deal of energy! Sublimation can be useful.

There are many other forms of self deception and the author cites many interesting examples of where self deception has been used in public situations. I am a glass half full person and I was slightly annoyed to realise that this could be classed as self deception as I am always ignoring the bad things about any situation and focussing on the good things. I cheered up when I realised that the glass half empty people of my acquaintance are also guilty of self deception.

This is an interesting read for anyone who is interested in human being and how they behave and the reasons for that behaviour.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Feast on March 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
On the surface, Burton's Hide & Seek purports to describe the many ego defence mechanisms we use to protect ourselves from painful truths. It is certainly an effective summary of them, and its short chapter format allows it to act as a concise reference guide, especially for readers who come at the subject without prior knowledge of this area. At a deeper, more subtextual level, it encourages the reader to identify which mechanisms they are using in their own lives, and whether they are helping or hindering the search for personal happiness. A worthy exercise for all to undertake!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Writing from a Freudian perspective with insights from evolutionary psychology, Greek philosophy, the "Bhagavad Gita," Buddhism, and everyday life, psychiatrist/philosopher Neel Burton makes it clear that self-deception is and has always been the norm in human behavior.

Dr. Burton organizes ego defenses into four basic categories: "abstraction," "transformation (or distortion)," "evasion," and "projection."

Abstraction includes denial, repression, anger, intellectualization, depression, and some others. Transformation recalls reaction formation (a term I haven't heard in years), minimization, etc. Evasion is about being vague or inauthentic, or maybe regressing or daydreaming, or telling jokes. Projection is basically tagging others with your own failures or shortcomings.

This all may sound somewhat abstract but Burton's straightforward and uncluttered prose makes this book a surprisingly easy read. Some of that is due to the vivid examples from history and literature that Burton provides to support his elaborate taxonomy.

I very much liked Burton's defense of depression especially in light of the overmedication we are getting from the psychiatric profession these days. Burton writes "The time and space and solitude that the adoption of the depressive position affords prevents us from making rash decisions...," allows us "to see the bigger picture" and "to reassess our social relationships..." (p. 60). I would add that seasonal depression at least may well be adaptive in that staying put (depressed persons typically don't want to do anything or go anywhere) when the weather is not good may help to avoid danger and prolong life.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By TranquilDream on January 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a graduate with a degree in psychology, I was expecting a book that went deeper into the defense mechanisms and gave more interesting examples than what I already knew of, but it didn't deliver. I was pretty bored reading through most of the chapters and all the philosophical references that kept coming up. This book basically just defines each defense mechanism, gives an example, and then ends it with a quote from a philosopher, story or poem. I was looking for something more thought provoking and deeper than a summary of all the terms. The best chapter was reaction formation, and that's what I was hoping the whole book was going to be like.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth B. Waniewski on September 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really liked what this book had to say about depression. I never thought about why it was not bred out of humanity. Why it might be an important trait. The book opened my eyes there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kris on September 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So far my favorite book by Burton is "The Art of Failure." It is well structured, organized, and truly impactful, particularly as a guide to self-examination. While "Hide and Seek" is very interesting, and could potentially guide the reader to further exploration of the subject, it reads more like a list of ego defences, with brief and disappointingly short descriptions. Burton is fantastic at eliciting thought, but this book seemed more written solely for the purpose of capitalizing on some of his former success. In fact many of the concepts and themes he employs in this text are directly copied from "The Art of Failure."
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